Thursday, February 25, 2021

The More You Miss Church, The Less You Miss Church

Name something that Covid-19 hasn't affected...go ahead...I'll wait. 

Listen, I know that our lives have been changed significantly in the last twelve months. I get it. To say it's been hard would be the understatement of a lifetime. As a pastor, I, and my fellow ministers have had to make some really difficult decisions over the last year. Decisions that they didn't teach us to make in seminary. Our church closed for a significant time last year...we weren't able to gather for Easter! During our closure, we transitioned to online services. Then we had a brief time of parking-lot meetings (What in the world?! What even is that?!) We were finally able to reopen but did so in a slow, methodical way. Many of our annual events were either cancelled or radically changed. The pandemic is still effecting us as, even as I write this, we have people from our congregation who are sick with the virus. It still wreaks havoc on much of our lives. It seems that literally everything has changed. Flashback to 2019 and this would seem like an overdramatic dystopian novel. Our lives are not the same. 

But one thing that has not changed is the sovereignty of our God. Yahweh is still on the throne and Jesus is still at His right hand and the Holy Spirit is still active in our hearts and lives. And He is still worthy of our worship. Church, I am convinced that it is time to come back to corporate worship. I do not write this in a cavalier, nonchalant, laissez faire way. I am still wrestling with making sure that we do everything that we can do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone who enters the doors of our sanctuary. But I believe we must be intentional about worshiping our God. There are certainly still many who have legitimate health concerns that may forestall their return but for others, it is time to come back home.

Why?

Because as I mentioned, God is worthy of our worship and that is enough, but we will return to that in just a moment. There are other reasons as well. I recently read an article from the magazine, Christianity Today. In it, Tyler VanderWeele, Director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University's T. H. Chan School of Public Health, was cited as saying, "Bible reading - along with other forms of community and discipleship, such as going to church or participating in a small group - appear to contribute to people's sense of well-being and happiness. The churches have an important and profound role in contributing to people's well-being in general - and especially so during this time."*  God has designed us to be in communion with Him and with other like-minded believers. We find our strength together. When you don't return to worship, there is a lack that the whole body feels in your absence. You are loved and missed by your family.

Back to the importance of the sovereignty of God. Worshiping God is intrinsic to the Christian life. Yes, of course, it is possible for us to worship God alone, and it is highly recommended. After all, our faith is a deeply personal one. But, God, through Christ, established the church as the avenue that we might come together as a body to proclaim His greatness. In His power, God gave us the church as a beautiful display of grace for our good and His glory. There is no other institution in the world more powerful. No other organization that can bring hope to a pandemic stricken world like the church. All because the church has been infused with the power of the Almighty Sovereign God. 

But the church consists of people. Without people who are committed to being the church, the church flounders. God will always preserve His church but do not take it for granted that He will preserve your church. That, in fact, is never promised. Many of you who will read this have come home and for that I am eternally grateful. For those who haven't, please see this as only a compassionate plea from someone who loves you and misses you. As Smokey Bear so eloquently said, "Only you can prevent forest fires." And only you can prevent your church from closing its doors and losing its impact for the Kingdom by your presence and active participation. So come home. Be cautious and responsible, but come home nevertheless. 

* Macinnis, Adam. "COVID-19 Hurts. But the Bible Brings Hope." Christianity Today, December 21,2020. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/january-february/bible-hope-covid19-flourishing-study.html


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Life Can Change In An Instant

 As I am writing this, I am nearly two weeks post a serious automobile accident. Two weeks ago, I was enjoying Thanksgiving with my family without a second thought of something life changing happening. The next day I was involved in a wreck that could've taken my life. I am grateful and blessed to be here writing this. I have wounds that may end up being life-long scars. I am dealing with anxiety due to insurance issues that are proving to be a real headache but I am here. I am still here. I don't have a car anymore and not sure when I will be able to get another one...but I am here. I still have my family and perhaps we are closer than we have been in a long time. I have been told countless times how lucky I am to be alive...but I simply do not and cannot believe in luck. My God sustained me. 

I am a pastor who preaches to the people God has entrusted me with a message of hope and reliance on Him who can do much more than we could ever ask or think. I am finding out that it is easier to preach that when things are going well or during times that I am not facing a personal crisis. I confess that, although I am certainly grateful that He spared my life, I have had dark moments of the soul in recent days where I have had doubt in my heart. I suppose I am writing this as much for me as for anyone else who may ever read it. I want to know why. I want to have answers for my future that just aren't available to me right now. 

My family and my church have been entirely too gracious to me. My wife is an absolute superstar and I shutter to think what I would've done without her. My church and other friends have done everything within their power to make sure that we have been provided for and have brought delicious meals for my family to enjoy every single night since the accident. Much love has been demonstrated to me and to us. I am grateful but I am also human. I am striving to remember and place my faith in those words that God gave to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: "Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Family, Church, Friends, this is hard and I am really asking for prayer on my behalf that I will rest in the strength of an almighty God. 

Over the years in ministry, I have learned and have been told that as a pastor, I must guard against showing vulnerability. That I must always practice what I preach. That I simply cannot demonstrate weakness. I understand and even agree with this concept to a certain degree. However, I also have come to realize, perhaps the hard way, that I must not rely on myself entirely. I must show that where I am weak, He is strong. So prayer warriors, I am pleading with you to lift me up to the throne room if and when you think of me. It appears that I may have a long road ahead and will need prayer and faith to sustain me. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Never Quit! Never, Never, Never Quit!

     If you were to Google my title, you would find that it is a quote attributed to the "British Bulldog", Winston Churchill. Some report that after a long and eloquent introduction, Churchill stood and said only those words and then promptly sat back down. It is perhaps one of his most famous speeches ever. Churchill was delivering a commencement address to a group of college graduates when he delivered this infamous address … or did he??? 


    Actually, in the midst of a twenty minute speech, he said, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense." Churchill was known as a tenacious, courageous, cigar-smoking, bulldog of a man who would stare down the likes of Hitler to assure the defeat of the Nazis and their world-dominating aspirations. His advice to these college graduates was to fight and fight hard … but know when to give up. 

    If something is right, we should fight for it! We know that our faith requires tenacity and strength. Paul told the Corinthians to "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." (1 Cor. 16:13) Our enemy is pressing down on us with a fervor like I personally have never witnessed before. It is easy to see on the grand scale but I believe we are experiencing it on the personal level as well. So many have grown weary with the daily onslaught. We've got to fight … that's for certain! But church, we've got to fight smarter! Even the indomitable British Bulldog knew when to give in! I am persuaded that there are some really important areas that we need to throw in the towel. 

    So here's my formal resignation to the status quo. I quit! I give up! I give in! I quit being fearful! I quit being nominal! I quit being mediocre! I quit letting the enemy have the upper-hand! Too much is at stake for us to continue ho-hum, monotonous, tame ministry! The only time we should give in is when what we are fighting for stands in contradiction with honour or good (common) sense. It is not honorable for us to continue fighting for something less than excellence for the sake of Christ. Common sense has left us when we fight for outdated traditions that are irrelevant to our current context. Jesus expects us to be in the world and not of it. To be in the world is to be sensitive to the world. Jesus is never irrelevant! 

    It is not time to throw in the towel and concede defeat to our adversary! No, on the contrary, we must fight like we have never fought before. I use these broad terms like "we" because every believer should be on the battlefield against the common enemy … that old sly serpent Satan! But as the Pastor of Powell Baptist Church, it is my responsibility to lead my regiment into battle! So I quit anything that hinders me from being the tenacious, courageous, non cigar-smoking, bulldog of a man that will stare down our adversary to assure the defeat of evil and it's soul dominating aspirations! 2 Chronicles exhorts, "But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded." Come on troops! Who's with me?!?! LET'S GO!!! 




Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Ministering In a Pandemic

I never imagined that I would pastor a church through a pandemic. It has been challenging to say the least. I have read so many articles, spent countless evenings watching the news broadcasts, and been on more zoom chats than I care to ever repeat. And, unfortunately, its far from over. Navigating this has been one of the toughest things that I think I have ever had to do. It has been physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually draining. I miss lots of things but none compares to the longing that I have for the fellowship of the church body. If this coronavirus pandemic has done anything, it has renewed my love for the church.

I can honestly say that I was taking our ability to meet together for granted. It's not that I didn't love to be here with the people or to be able to worship corporately. It's more that I just assumed I would always have the freedom to do so. Although I know that the persecuted church exists all around the world and there are people who risk their lives every week to worship together, I never imagined that what I considered a basic human freedom and right would ever be taken from me. We are approaching a time where we will be back together finally but in the beginning it's going to be tough. It just won't be the same. We will be socially distancing. We will wear masks. We will not be able to extend the right hand of Christian fellowship or enjoy a warm embrace from our brothers and sisters. I am tired...exhausted even. I have actually stopped watching so much news but I did watch yesterday and saw the horrific pictures of Brazilians digging mass graves as their death toll continues to rise dramatically. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones. My heart breaks for those who have lost their livelihoods. The effects of this pandemic are far-reaching and may be felt for a number of years. I have such a sense of loss that words actually fail me to say or to write in an appropriate manner how this hurts.

But, nevertheless, here we are. One thing is for certain, and that is we can rest in the loving arms of Yahweh. In his embrace, we have nothing to fear. We can trust that, even through such tragedy, we are still loved and cared for in a radical way. This is the same God who rescued Israel from slavery and torment. He is the same God who rescued Daniel from the ravenous mouths of lions. The same God who rescued Noah, Jonah, David, Peter, James, John, and Paul. He is the same God who has rescued me over and over and over again. My God will never fail. Whether He rescues me on Earth or He chooses to rescue us who believe in the name of Jesus through our deaths or His second coming, I can know that my God is in complete sovereign control...and I can rest.

As I said earlier, the one thing that I miss the most is the fellowship and corporate worship with the saints. I sincerely believe that one of the greatest blessings, one of the finer things in life, is the ability to gather together with the body of Christ. It has done my heart such good to have been able to speak with and even sometimes see some of the members of my church. We've shared laughs, tears, happiness, heartache, excitement, and frustration over the last couple of months. I do not know what I would have done without the people of God. We were never meant to do this life alone. We were always meant to be together...to have each other. God has always intended us to have meaningful relationships with each other. We build each other up. At the end of the day, it is we who have the responsibility to love each other. I first want to say thank you to everyone who has demonstrated love and care for me and my family. But I also want to exhort you to reach out to someone and let them know just how much you care. You may never know the impact that a phone call or a note might have. In a time when people are feeling isolated, lonely, and depressed, it means more now than ever. 

I also want to thank everyone who has been so faithful in continuing to give generously and sacrificially to the church. That also means more now than perhaps ever before. We have been given the awesome privilege and responsibility to be the church here in our local area. We are an outpost of heaven...a lighthouse of grace here on Earth. We must continue our work here. The Gospel has always needed to be shared but I believe we are living in an unprecedented time when people may be more open to have Gospel conversations than they ever have been in our lifetime. That happens through the ministries of the local church. I understand that it is the responsibility of every believer to share the Gospel but the discipleship is caught at church. The training happens at church. The teaching and modeling happens at church. To think of thousands dying as a result of a pandemic is horrific enough...but to know that many of those who die are doing so without the hope of Jesus is too much. This sobering thought should give us all pause. I ask you...no I plead with you to give generously and sacrificially so that we are able to remain viable in these precarious times. Until the Lord of the harvest comes again, we have work to do in His vineyard. God orchestrated all of this before the foundation of the world. He is, was, and ever will be faithful...but He has always used people to accomplish His purposes. He made you and me for such a time as this. Let us leverage our time, money, and resources...yes even our own lives to be the hands and feet of Jesus when the world needs us most. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

King Of The Mountain

I remember when I was a kid, there was a heavily wooded area at the back of our neighborhood. I and a friend of mine played in those woods like it was our own personal forest. We made forts, we played Cops & Robbers, we climbed trees, and skinned plenty of knees.

Then we found it.

For some unknown reason, someone had cleared out a section of trees in the middle of the forest, totally cleared the land, and made a gigantic hill in the process. Oh the fun that he had on that hill! We would carry our bikes to the top and recklessly ride them back down. We rolled down the hill more times than I can even remember. Our favorite game was playing king of the mountain on that old dirt laden hill. I came home filthy nearly every time...much to my mother's dismay. If you've ever played king of the mountain, you know that it is a simple game where the object is to knock everyone else down and be the last man standing. We thought we were gladiators and there was no one who could conquer us if we happened to win the conquest of the day.

As I've grown older, I reminisce about those days...those simpler times. I remember that regardless of who won the game, my friend and I were still just that...friends. While we may bask in the glory of winning one day, it was nearly inevitable that we would lose the next and we would still be friends and enjoy each other's company...that is until we climbed that hill again and the battle raged on. Unfortunately, that isn't how it works often times in the real world.

You see, in the real world, people build the hills for themselves and will fight to sit on their own thrones. People love to build this sort of kingdom and bask in the glory of it all. But the reality is that every kingdom ever known to man has had enemies. The problem with the kingdom of self is that when you become so self-important, you've set yourself up to have somewhere around 7.5 billion enemies. Enemies that are put off by your ego. Enemies that desire nothing but to see you fail. Enemies that would celebrate the opportunity to see you getting knocked off the mountain.

Sometimes people build this kingdom and it overshadows the Kingdom of God. This can look like that person who is so committed to making sure that everything goes their way in church. They cannot stand the thought of their personal preferences not being met. This can also look like someone who is so wrapped up in tradition because in their mind, that is the only way a kingdom can operate. Pastors can get ensnared in this too. For pastors, this can look like boasting about numbers, programs, buildings, and degrees. Often times, people may feel like they are building the Kingdom of God while only building a tall, yet fragile mountain for themselves. I recently read an article which was nothing but a pastor boasting on his own kingdom. He smiled for the camera as the words on the page spoke of his accomplishments. Nowhere in the article was God glorified. Only the man and his mountain.

This is a little side note but I think that it serves as an apt illustration. I have two boys who are two years apart. They absolutely love to get on each other's nerves. One of our favorite vacation spots is the beach and just like most kids, they love to build sandcastles. Another favorite pastime for both of them is to destroy the other's sandcastle. It infuriates both of them, yet they continue to still do it. They watch each other build mountains just to tear them down.

In what is known as the High Priestly Prayer in John 17, Jesus prayed to the Father and emphasized his unity with the father. As a perfect model of unity, Jesus prayed that his church would be unified. He prayed, "that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (21). You see here a clear purpose for unity...that the watching world will know that we represent a united Triune God. The Kingdom of God says stuff like, "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." It says things like, "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." So I feel just in supposing that we turn our eyes on Jesus and fervently strive to build His Kingdom instead of our own. 

Once in the Bible, Solomon turned his attention away from God's Kingdom and began to focus on his own. As a King, Solomon had much power and that power began, as it so often does, to go to his head. He began to focus on his own desires and pleasures. He felt like he had earned the right to do whatever he pleases with whomever he pleases. He began to build what the Bible refers to as "high places" on mountains in honor of his many wives and their false gods. This displeased God, therefore God said to Solomon in 1 Kings 11:11, "Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant." You may have built a kingdom for yourself that no man can conquer. You may be ontop of a mountain that noone else can overcome. You may be the gladiator today...but rest assured, if your kingdom stands in the way of the glory of the King of Kings...you will get knocked down. 


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Just Some Turkey And Stuff-ing

Today is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2019. Yesterday and the day before, my family spent celebrating birthdays for our two little boys...Great Wolf Lodge is a really fun place and features a water slide that will seriously be a thrill to even the grizzliest of men...think of being sucked up in a tornado in utter darkness and you'll get the picture. I honestly don't know who had more fun...me or the kids? As I sit behind this desk today though, I must confess that for some reason, I am a tad melancholy.

I have more than enough to consider myself a blessed man. For a good portion of the world's standards, I am incredibly wealthy. I have a relatively healthy family, though I wouldn't mind a prayer or two for a particular health concern. I have a new home, two relatively new cars, two rambunctious little boys that love playing outside with me. A wonderful wife that works hard and sacrifices much for our family. A church that really loves me and my little family and does things all of the time to affirm me and my ministry. JUST SO MUCH!

Yet I am drained a little. No worries...I've been here before...and much farther than here. I have learned from the great teacher of experience that things can get much, much worse.

There are things that I want to see God do in my life. Things I want to witness him do in my family. Things I want to experience him accomplish in the church that he has been so gracious to let me lead. Things that he just doesn't seem to be doing right now. I have been a Christ follower for most of my life which means that I have seen God come through in literally every single situation for years now. As a pastor, sometimes I feel like showing any sign of weakness would be to the detriment of those who are under my care. I feel like I have to hide behind a mask of unshakeable faith. But the truth is...I don't. I am a human being with real and sometimes raw emotions. I know that God is there. I know he will accomplish his purpose in his timing...I know these things just as much as I know that I am sitting here typing this right now. I suppose the struggle is the waiting.

I have been in ministry now for more than ten years. I have had the privilege of ministering in wonderful settings and in some not so wonderful ones. I have experienced abundance...and drought. Right now, I am in the best place in my life, ministry-wise. Again, the church I pastor is exceptionally gracious to me and my family. The people here are absolutely amazing and I love them with my whole heart. I find though, that I want more for them. I want God to open up doors of bountiful blessing to them. I want them to experience God in a way like they never have before. I want God to use this church as a light in a dark world. Make no mistake, God IS at work here and he will accomplish these things. Sometimes, I guess in my fragile human state, I wonder if he will have to do these things in spite of me. And then I realize that YES, YES he will have to do these things entirely in spite of me. My righteousness is equivalent to the rag that you used to clean the toilet because everyone is coming over tomorrow to eat Turkey and you don't want to be embarrassed by a nasty bathroom...yep that's me!

When I look in the mirror, I sometimes do not like what I see. You are a pastor dude, get it together...you know better! I don't like that I see someone who struggles. I don't always like the father I see in that mirror. More often than not, I certainly do not like the husband I see. I really don't even care for my physical appearance a whole lot. Being overweight and bald in your thirties will do that for ya. The mirror shows me a man who has been broken because of his own sin...a man made inadequate for all of the many tasks set before him.

But GOD...!!!

The terrible truth is that I am not a great husband, father, son, brother, or pastor. I AM NOT. But my identity is in Christ. Where I have inadequacies, Christ is wholly adequate. Where I fail, Christ succeeds. Where I lose, Jesus gets the W. All of the things that I wish were true...about me, about my family, about my ministry...are things that I have set my mind on as measures of success. I have been lost in my subjectivity. I have looked for success outside of my standing in Christ. He is the absolute truth. He is the objective standard for success. Look, I know that this may be a dangerous post to write...it may cause me some difficulty...but that's okay because Jesus proclaimed that I am more than a conqueror. Writing this has already made me search introspectively and find the peace that God promised would pass all of my understanding. My aim here is not to throw some sort of juvenile, attention-seeking, pity party. My aim is to be transparent. To be real. And to lead others to a REAL God who gives abundant joy even in the darkest nights of the soul.

After trekking all over Great Wolf Lodge, Bass Pro Shops, and a couple of race team headquarters (NASCAR is the best sport outside of college football...fight me!), I was exhausted yesterday. I wanted to kick my feet up and relax a little. I probably kick back and relax a little too much on a regular basis...truth be told and it makes me unhealthy. I have to intentionally work on my posture. Sometimes you just have to stand up straight and stretch out a little. Gratitude is a little like that. It is a posture that sometimes isn't the most natural or even comfortable. Sometimes we just kinda wanna kick back, relax, and wallow in our own mire.

So tomorrow, I will sit at two different tables. I will eat two different Thanksgiving meals with two different sides of my family. And I will be thankful. I will remember that God has me exactly where he wants me to be right now. That doesn't mean that he doesn't want to grow me and stretch me. It certainly doesn't mean that he is done with me or that I have "arrived"...far from it. But God knows who I am and he intimately knows my future. And just like my past, he has never failed me and he won't fail me in my future. So I will rest. I'll enjoy my family. I'll enjoy the food. I'll enjoy the parades. I'll enjoy the football. I'll enjoy knowing that my identity is in Christ alone. I'll enjoy knowing that HE was, is, and ever will be ENOUGH. .

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Get Real!

Authenticity. So much hinges on that one word. Much of our world is looking for authenticity in something. Authenticity in advertisement. Authenticity in government. Authenticity in leadership. And yes, authenticity in church. A lie can be found in so many places but the truth is rare. If there is one place truth, genuineness, and authenticity should be found, of course, it is in the church. Unfortunately, however, that is simply not always the case.

I have been on a journey of seeking authentic discipleship for myself and for those that I lead for quite some time now. It seems now more than ever that I have found my thoughts echoed by many other church leaders. Whether it be in books that I or my wife are reading or in blogs or statistics, the drive for authentic Christianity and discipleship is a plea coming from every direction. For example, my wife is reading a book on the history of the Baptist denomination. In it, she discovered that a church local to us is the oldest Baptist church in the state of Georgia, the historic Kiokee Baptist Church. In its beginnings, Kiokee was so determined to be an authentic outpost of the Kingdom of Heaven that they practiced and enforced the strictest variation of church-discipline. One could not simply be a nominal Christian and be a part of Kiokee. An individual had to represent Christ, His Kingdom, and Kiokee well in order to maintain membership. Kiokee Baptist Church is still a wonderful church that is genuinely making a Kingdom difference and I thank God for the work they are doing in our community.

Things in general have changed however.

The Word tells us that we should be in the world but not of it. In attempts to be relevant, we have capitulated to the world's standards. We are too afraid of being called judgmental to hold our brothers and sisters in the church to a heavenly standard, and heaven forbid we speak out against any injustice or immorality in our culture for we are sore afraid of being called bigoted or worse. It may be that we have spent to much time trying to look like the world for the purposes of attracting the world. The aforementioned books, blogs, and statistics tell us that what will actually attract the world is quite the opposite. People are looking for truth and we possess the ultimate source. Now we must understand that we will not advance the Kingdom by being Bible-thumpers or those who would seek only to win arguments with what we perceive as our social enemies. When the Bible tells us to disseminate truth, it tell us to do so with love. We must lovingly speak out against issues in our world such as abortion, sexual abuse, anything that stands against biblical marriage, racism, and the like. Believe it or not, those who are coming to our churches want to know how to think about these things in a different perspective. High schools, universities, and mainstream media tell them how to think about these issues rather unashamedly. Their minds are flooded with progressive ideologies that are being promulgated by a liberal socialism that many are recognizing, in unprecedented numbers, as yet another inauthentic vie for their minds, hearts, and their very souls.

In the Word of God, we are told to not only be hearers of the Word but also be doers. This, unfortunately, is another place where the church fails to be as authentic as we should be. A. W. Tozer once said, "If you are not worshiping God on Monday the way you did the day before, perhaps you're not worshiping Him at all." People know when you go to church. They see you leave every Sunday and they know where you are going. They hear you talk about your church. And I have been in church settings where no one ever said anything good about the church...trust me, people pay special attention to the negative things you say. Praise God, Powell (the church I am serving now) does not disparage herself in this way. Whether they see you going to church once or twice a month or they see you going every time the doors are open, what your friends, family, and neighbors are actually looking at is how your church attendance and your devotion to Christ affects your life and behavior. If there is no discernable difference between you and Joe Atheist across the street, what would lend anyone to believe that you or your religion is authentic. How can we be world changers when we look, smell, talk, and walk like the world? Simply put, we will not. I pray for Kingdom advancement but that requires work on my part. It does on your part as well. In the book that my wife is reading, The Baptist Story, Caleb Evans said, "When we pray for the advancement of this kingdom, if we are not willing to do all we can to advance it, our prayers cannot be genuine, they are hypocritical." The last thing this world needs is another hypocrite. I realize that we cannot provide perfection to the Kingdom because we are human and by nature we are sinners. I don't think that the saved have to live in the bondage of the old life to sin but, alas, we still sin everyday. What I do think is that we can and should live in authentic relationship with Christ and repent everyday. Authentic discipleship to King Jesus is radical and will be noticed. Live in a way that makes you a bright shining city on a hill, an outpost of grace, an ambassador of justice, a beacon of hope, and a lighthouse of love. You will be amazed at the impact that you can and will have on this world. People need authenticity and genuineness in a world nearly devoid of it. Where else will they find it if they cannot find it in the body of Christ?

The More You Miss Church, The Less You Miss Church

Name something that Covid-19 hasn't affected...go ahead...I'll wait.  Listen, I know that our lives have been changed significantly ...